Nabisco Factory to Be Sold, Tower to Be Demolished

The Far Northeast will likely never smell like cookies again.

The Northeast Philly Nabisco building

(Image via Google Street View)

The interchange of Roosevelt Boulevard and Woodhaven Road in the Far Northeast isn’t much of an intersection. But it’s actually pretty interesting: At one corner there’s Crown Holdings, a Fortune 500 company that is actually the No. 1 manufacturer of food cans in the world. Across Woodhaven there’s the old BASCO Showroom, designed by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. Behind that is Philadelphia’s version of Levittown, Normandy, a community built by former Levitt & Sons vice president Norman D. Denny.

Across the street there’s the old Nabisco factory, which until its recent closure made the Far Northeast smell like cookies for decades. Also, in the shopping center that used to have BASCO — it’s now a self-storage place — there’s a Steve’s Prince of Steaks. It’s a pretty happenin’ place for the Far Northeast, okay?

Big changes could be coming to that intersection. Mondelēz International, the snack food maker, owns the Nabisco brand and the factory though a series of mergers. It closed the plant last year; Mondelēz said it was concentrating on modern plants in New Jersey and Virginia. Union officials say the company wants to outsource production to Mexico. This was one of the plant closings that led to Donald Trump vowing to never eat Oreos again. This issue goes across partisan lines: U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, a Democrat, held an event with a “Say No to Oreo” sign.

Now, the tower portion of the factory is going away. Mondelēz is selling the building to an out-of-state buyer. The sale price for the 27.5-acre site was not disclosed, though the asking price was $25 million. The Philadelphia Business Journal first reported the news yesterday.

Rich Gorodesky, a broker with Colliers International handling the transaction, said early plans include demolishing the bakery tower and manufacturing plant and keeping the distribution center for industrial use. The current building is about 600,000 square feet; about 120,000 to 130,000 square feet will remain in the new plans, according to Gorodesky. The new site will be mostly retail. The Far Northeast will likely never smell like cookies again.

“The city always wants to try to retain as much of the industrial as it can across the city,” Gorodesky said. “It provides diversity and better paying jobs. Hopefully we can do that, if it goes through.” Gorodesky said he didn’t know how the tower portion of the site will be demolished, but “it’s going to disappear.”

Gorodesky also brokered the sale of the old Budd Company plant on Red Lion Road; that was turned into a golf course after the sale and is now owned by the drug company Teva, though it’s vacant.

It seems like the Nabisco factory could be following the path of the site of the old Sears building, also on the Boulevard in Crescentville. That building, which was a much larger complex, once distributed merchandise and housed a retail store; it was spectacularly imploded in 1994. It’s now the Northeast Tower Center and has a Walmart, a Staples and other stores.

Gorodesky said the sale is implicit on approval of plans for the new site.

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